Welcome to Edition 003 of the No Cap Newsletter ! We’ll cover industry news, key program learnings, and of course, spotlight a RippleX Fellow doing awesome things! Are you receiving this newsletter in the wrong inbox? Perhaps they’re all pilling up in Promotions? We’d love to ask for you to move this newsletter back into your regular inbox to avoid any future troubles. Thank you for all your support and for taking a few minutes to read our newsletter! 🧠 Understanding your Customer As a founder, realizing the full potential of your startup can’t happen all by yourself/your team. Once you’ve opted into the game, you’re looking for the best ways to level up, and understanding the cheat code may just help you win the entire thing. As you go through each level, you start to realize there’s a repeating factor with everything you’re building and the decisions you’re making - the customer aka the cheat code. Back to reality, this would be considered customer research - the study you conduct to better understand your customer. From their day-to-day behavior to their preferences/dislikes, it’s all to understand how they interact with your product and what you should be doing to keep them by your side. Now you’re probably wondering - how do I bridge the gap between myself and the customer? Beyond the data collection and analytics, how do I gather the qualitative data about the customer’s experience? Is there a method to layer qualitative data on top of existing quantitative measures? All these questions can be answered through Customer Interviews - the opportunity for you to take it a step further and gather the details that you may not have seen. Here is an overview of steps you should be following: Set Goals - determine goals that can direct your research. Qualify Participants - locate the folks best qualified to help you collect insights towards your goals. Come Up with Questions - formulate non-leading questions that will provide a holistic view of the user experience/emotions. Conducting customer interviews or simply doing customer research will provide you with insight that will either align or shatter a belief you held/plans you’ve made (that’s a good thing! Better to know now vs. later). The “cheat code” in this game doesn’t come on a silver platter, so it’s all up to you to seek out the next steps. Let’s Dive into the Industry 💸Big Baller Funding Alchemy : As the momentum towards Web3 continues to rise, the demand for backend support has also become a necessity for any sort of blockchain development. This is where Alchemy has been able to find its fit and shine - aiming to be the “AWS for blockchain”. As a matter of fact, its become the technology behind major NFT platforms and Web3 developers (i.e. OpenSea, Dapper Labs, etc.). It has recently raised $250 million in Series C, just 6 months after raising $80 million. This notable round also consists of a16z’s largest Web3 investment to date. Read more. 🌟Rising Star OctoML : The development of AI/ML models has become top of mind for all companies, but this comes with its challenges - especially performance optimization. Interestingly enough, OctoML comes to the rescue by offering a platform that can intake any model and automatically optimize its performance for any given cloud or edge device. They’ve raised $85 million in Series C with total funding sitting at $132 million. Read more. 🌱Kick Starter Emerge : Phone storage, specifically with apps has been a constant battle for me, as it’s been difficult getting all my desired apps with restricted space. What if there was a product designed to help reduce app size? Emerge, a YC backed startup has raised $1.7 million to provide a monitoring and recommendation tool for developers. It aims to reduce the application size while maintaining the same efficiency right from the get-go. Read more. 💡 Fellow Spotlight Lyn Chen - Co-Founder & COO at webapp.io Software development comes with a series of challenges, but code reviews and code merging can undoubtedly be at the top of this list. Introducing webapp.io led by Co-founder and COO, Lyn Chen from Cohort #4. Webbapp.io provides development teams with an additional layer of support through a full-stack review environment embedded into every pull request. This all-in-one platform empowers developers to “review code changes like Facebook” by streamlining CI/CD and providing full-stack staging environments. This YC-backed startup has raised a total of $1.2 million with a recent $1 million in Seed funding. Oh, it doesn’t stop there. Lyn has also been recognized in the Forbes 30 under 30 for her contributions to enterprise technology. Interested to learn more? Take a peek into their awesome blogs . See what Lyn said about his experience with the fellowship program 👇 "RippleX was a great learning experience. As a founder who raised venture capital (VC) for the first time, I was able to accelerate my understanding of core concepts without being in the VC industry. Since being in the program, I was able to go through Y Combinator and raise seed in less than 6 weeks. Beyond learning valuable fundraising skills, one of the most difficult experiences as a founder is going on the journey alone. I was fortunate to have met lifelong friends through the program and continue to pay it forward by being an active mentor/friend to fellow founders." Interested in being featured? Looking to share exciting news? Please reach out to Dom at firstname.lastname@example.org. Authored by Turja Chowdhury (Cohort #9).